ENGLAND manager Martin Johnson wants to give all 44 squad members the chance to impress in Australia and New Zealand this summer.
Johnson’s men take on the Barbarians at Twickenham before jetting out to face the Wallabies in two Tests and then New Zealand to play the All Blacks.
While Johnson has plenty of options available to him, only 22 players are allowed to be selected in any one game. But the boss insists each one of his squad will get a chance to start and stake a claim for a regular starting berth.
“That would be the intention,” Johnson explained. “But guys can also have an impact coming off the bench.
“It’s important as you can play a significant role coming off the bench. In our last game in France, David Wilson and Steve Thompson came on and played 40 minutes and had a big effect. Whatever your role – whether you are starting, on the bench, or not on the bench – you have to support the guys in training and do what’s asked of you at that moment.”
Johnson has gathered the majority of his squad for the Barbarians with the exception of the six Leicester players, who are preparing to take on Saracens in the Premiership final the previous day, and Jonny Wilkinson, who is playing for Toulon in the Amlin Challenge Cup final.
But Johnson insists it’s not about individuals but the squad as a whole, no matter how many players involved. “It’s not two separate teams – we are one group of 44,” he added.
“Everyone has to support each other regardless of whether you are playing in the game. On these tours you do get chances through injuries or a loss of form. If someone is playing particularly well they will have a chance to get in the Test team.”